This week Krista has asked us to depict something or someone we admire. I admire every single member of my family and all my amazing friends, so I don’t want to single any of them out! I happened to be working on a composite image of wrens when the challenge came up, so I felt it was the perfect opportunity to explain the inspiration behind the composition of the piece. The way the wren moved about on the branch was quite comical and reminded me of the work of wildlife artist, Warwick Higgs. Please have a look at his work, it’s great fun!
Sixteen years ago I was working in a gallery in Epsom. We made bespoke frames for all sorts of pieces of art, as well as selling prints, limited editions and Fine Art originals. They were some of the happiest days of my life but also some of the hardest. My Crohn’s was out of control and I went through three major operations to have a permanent stoma formed, an ileostomy. Having a place to work, if only part-time when my health allowed, gave me a real purpose and enormous satisfaction. My boss and colleagues were always supportive and understanding. It was hard for all of us when arthritic problems and fibromyalgia made it just too unsafe for me to continue working as a framer several years later.
It wasn’t just my co-workers in the gallery who gave me much needed support though! We worked closely with a number of wildlife artists who I admired very much indeed. Among them were David Sheppard CBE, Gary Hodges and Warwick Higgs. All of these artists helped us raise funds, for local and international wildlife charities, through auctions of their art at events held in the gallery. Warwick spent a lot of time with us as we framed many his originals. He also used the gallery space to hold a number of Live Art days, setting up his easel in the window space and sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with everyone who visited.
He was always very encouraging of my own art, both painting and photography. We shared a love for the observation of animal behavior, bringing some of those charismatic quirks into our work. I remember being incredibly touched when I received a handmade card and letter from Warwick whilst I was in hospital for the second of my operations. To be able to make someone feel valued is a rare gift! I will never forget his support and wish that I hadn’t lost touch with him over the years. A wonderful artist whose observation of the natural world has always produced the most delightful and fun pieces of art!